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Richmond volleyball girls snatches gold at nationals

Air Attack's 18U won against Saskatoon's team in the finals.
Air Attacks 18U girls team
Air Attack 18U girls win gold at Volleyball Canada Nationals in Edmonton.

A Richmond-based volleyball team has earned a gold medal in the nationals.

The Air Attack Volleyball Club’s 18U girls team – which plays out of the Richmond Olympic Oval – competed at the Volleyball Canada Nationals in Edmonton last week.

The girls secured the gold medal win against Saskatoon’s Lloyminster Rustlers with a score of 15-8 in the third set of the finals.

Despite a narrow loss of 23-25 during the first set, the team’s coach Yersin Yung said the girls were not going to allow this to set them back from winning.

“From a coaching perspective, it’s the first time all season I saw the fire in their eyes and they were committed to play every point as if it was their last,” said Yung, adding that they were not going to “allow adversities” to determine the outcome.

“The energy was contagious regardless, if you were on the bench or a fan watching the match, it was palpable.”

Yung told the Richmond News the girls turned the tables after forcing Lloydminster to “make a number of key mistakes” and won the set 25-18.

With several key blocks made by starting middle Christina Sofikitas, the team took an early 8-0 lead in the third set and eventually winning the game 15-8.

“The team just simply played to their potential, focused, undistracted, and single-minded. It was fun to watch and I’m so fortunate to have opportunity to be part of their success,” said Yung.

The girls entered the tournament with determination and an amazing offensive output with Marianne Linder and Katherine Keng both being named “Player of the Wave” in the first two days of pool play, according to Yung.

Despite an injury to Sofikitas, the team took the series 25-16 and 25-16 in the first and second sets of the playoff rounds against Yukon’s Artic Impact.

The team won against Rhino White from Alberta 25-11 and 25-21 during the semi-finals with exceptional playing from junior players Isabella Villasenor, Elena Liu-Fei and Kara Lam.